Performance Rules. But What About Efficiency?
Had enough of rising gas prices? At least you can save gas by either changing your driving habits or buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle. But when it comes to saving money on you electricity bill, PCs don't offer that much leeway.
Indeed, there is not much the industry did to keep idle power consumption reasonably low. We have chips that run at almost 4 GHz, dual core processors and incredibly complex graphics silicon today - of course, it's great to have this processing horsepower. But each of these parts draws a vertiginous amount of idle power. The main issue is that there is the following: Most of the time you cannot utilize the full potential of your hardware or you simply have it running 24/7 with few things the system keeps working on. In short, there is a lot of energy being wasted.
A typical system today draws around 100 Watts without doing anything. Using a dual core machine and a state-of-the-art graphics card will get you very close to 200 W - and this number does not include the display. Add another 70 to 120 W for a CRT monitor or 30 to 50 Watts for a TFT display. Let's play around with these numbers a little bit.